The Wisdom of Psychopaths Summary


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Originally published at: https://blog.12min.com/the-wisdom-of-psychopaths-summary/

What Saints, Spies, and Serial Killers Can Teach Us About Success


The title of this summary is self-explanatory.

In the following pages of our “The Wisdom of Psychopaths” summary, we will teach you that psychopaths are not always as you imagine them to be.

We will further present the traits that psychopaths share, and what are the characteristics that separate criminals and serial killers from so-called “functioning psychopaths.”

Lastly, you will realize that at times, having a psychopath on your side is not a bad idea. In fact, it may be the very thing that saves your life.

Who Should Read “The Wisdom of Psychopaths”? and Why?

Psychopaths surround you.

No, we are not talking about cold-blooded killers, but of functional psychopaths.

Those are people who are calm under pressure and lack empathy. Sadly, they are often in positions of power (think of politicians and lawyers) and use their jobs to take advantage of weaker people.

Kevin Dutton starts there and backs up this theory by using numerous research references.

In “The Wisdom of Psychopaths” you will learn who are the psychopaths, why the functional ones can control their conduct and why criminals cannot. Moreover, you will learn what makes the functional psychopaths more dangerous than the murderers.

Yes, you heard right.

We recommend this creative piece of work to all readers who are looking for entertainment in a well-documented non-fiction book.

About Kevin Dutton

Kevin Dutton, Ph.D., is an author, a social influence expert and a research psychologist with the Center for Evolution and Human Sciences at the University of Oxford.

"The Wisdom of Psychopaths Summary"

Before starting with the summary of this book, we would like you to ask yourself a few questions.

Are you a risk taker? Are you calm under extreme pressure? Is persuading others one of your strong points?

Okay, let’s move a bit deeper.

Would you murder one person to save several others?

We have asked you these questions to determine whether you are a psychopath. So, be true to yourself.

Unlike what you may think, psychopaths are not always criminals. In fact, only a fraction of psychopaths are criminals and even less are murderers.

Now, what do you think that spies or presidents have in common?

Yes, you guessed right. They all possess psychopathic tendencies that give them an advantage over ordinary people. Functional psychopaths live all around you. Moreover, more often than not, they are in a position of power.

Truth be told, if you are like most of the people, even you are a little psychopathic.

Lately, there is a debate on whether the world is becoming more psychotic. Studies show that more functional psychopaths exist nowadays than ever before. It is a paradox, really, but it seems that modern society rewards their behavior.

However, what makes psychopaths so special that we (and author Kevin Dutton) decided to write about them.

Well, they possess a unique set of characteristics. They are incredibly charming and persuasive and know when to turn this ability on, and when to let it rest. That is the primary distinction between functional and nonfunctional psychopaths. Many of their characteristics grant them the place of the most valuable members of our society.

To find out more, move on to the key lessons we extracted from the book.

Key Lessons from “The Wisdom of Psychopaths”

1. Benefits of Psychopathy 2. Good Psychopaths 3. Becoming a Psychopath for Fun and Success

Benefits of Psychopathy

Movies have created a distorted version of psychopaths, presenting them as people without a single drop of empathy of emotion.

If you think that psychopaths lack emotion, you are wrong.

They do have emotions but can turn emotions on and off depending on the situation at hand.

What separates criminals or nonfunctioning psychopaths from functioning ones is that after the thrill of victory settles in, functioning psychopaths turn their emotions on again when meeting their friends or family.

Functioning psychopaths can adjust and control themselves and their behavior.

Good Psychopaths

As we already said, psychopathy is not always dangerous.

In fact, sometimes, the world needs psychopaths. They are cool under pressure and can objectively judge situations, therefore avoiding many catastrophes fuel by emotional thinking.

Just think of astronauts, pilots, surgeons, warriors and many more.

When your life is at stake, you want a psychopath on your side.

Becoming a Psychopath for Fun and Success

When it comes to your identity and character, most parts are nature, and other parts are nurture. The same rule applies to psychopathy as well.

When children grow up and reach adolescence, a large part of their personality is already developed to a degree which is beyond their control.

If you are a woman, you will have an easier time adjusting your behavior. Women are wired differently and thus are much better at changing their conduct.

Now, if you had control over your genes and wanted to make yourself more psychopathic, you would need to ask to be male, and possess the “warrior gene.”

If you wanted to tame the genes and become more functional, on the other hand, you might try to pass the entrance exams of special forces military units. Special forces units have a selection process which is inclined toward people with manageable psychopathic traits. Such is the case because they need members that would stay and think when most normal people would hesitate and run.

The military and the special forces with their training methods can increase the level of psychopathy in an individual. Their needs and techniques are anyway too extreme for most people to clench their teeth and bear.

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“The Wisdom of Psychopaths” Quotes

[bctt tweet="What if our better nature wasn't better after all? But was instead, well, just nature? " username="get12min"]

[bctt tweet=“Psychopathy is like sunlight. Overexposure can hasten one’s demise in grotesque, carcinogenic fashion. But regulated exposure at controlled and optimal levels can have a significant positive impact on well-being and quality of life.” username=“get12min”]

[bctt tweet=“The problem with a lot of people is that what they think is a virtue is actually a vice in disguise. It’s much easier to convince yourself that you’re reasonable and civilised, than soft and weak, isn’t it?” username=“get12min”]

[bctt tweet=“Every society needs particular individuals to do its dirty work for it.” username=“get12min”]

[bctt tweet=“Conscience is what hurts when everything else feels good.” username=“get12min”]

Our Critical Review

“The Wisdom of Psychopaths” has an exciting premise and content. However, we think that Dutton could have tried to make his prose a bit tighter. If you are a big fan with metaphors, on the other hand, you will surely enjoy his style.